Self indulgence through sewing.

Alice in Wonderland

In my continuing saga to try to get this blog caught up to my present day project, let’s talk about my Alice in Wonderland costume!

The final costume:

My Alice Reference, screen capped from the 2010 Un-Anniversary re-release:

My goal for this project was to make my costume as movie accurate as possible. Features to notice are the blue collar (Disney park Alice’s often have white collars for some reason) the bloomers which cut off below the knee with a simple fabric ruffle, the white fabric petticoat layer under the blue circle skirt, and the apron construction (the only seam appears to be below the waist tie, open back, no ruffles on shoulder “wings”, etc.)

Before I started this project I also finally got around to making myself a duct tape dummy dress form, so I was able to draft this whole dress by myself. I think I can safely say this is the first project I haven’t had to use any commercially available pattern to start with. Level up?  🙂

It wasn’t all sunshine and roses though, I had a hell of a time finding the right fabric for this. At first I figured, “Well, I can probably just use cotton broadcloth, can’t go wrong with that!” so I trundled down to JoAnn’s to pick up a few yards.  Big Mistake. Joann’s carries a fabric brand they call “kona cotton,” but it is just terrible. You’d think you’d be able to iron cotton on the cotton setting, right?  NOPE. My iron was leaving glossy iron marks all over the Joann’s cotton. Blurg.  At this point I sorta wrote off all cotton, thinking the problem was kona cotton itself and not specifically kona cotton FROM JOANN’S.

On my next trip down to Portland I dropped off at my favorite big fabric store, Fabric Depot, and picked up some beautiful blue matte charmeuse-ieish fabric thinking that maybe my problems with the cotton were branching from it being not fancy enough. I got about as far as mocking up the bodice and collar with this fabric before deciding this new fabric wasn’t really working out like I’d liked, either. 😦 Even with lining, the new fabric was just too droopy and slippery and difficult to work with. It was showing every bump of the corset below, and it was photographing too dark. At this point I was sort of at a loss of what to do, the convention was coming up in less than three weeks, and I wasn’t happy with either of my fabric choices. I needed something that would be easy to work with, relativly inexpensive, with a clean drape in the right color. It was at this point my husband suggested that maybe my initial choice of cotton broadcloth wasn’t such a bad choice, and that maybe it was just a problem with Joann Fabric’s fabric quality. So we took a little field trip to Pacific Fabrics to check out their supply. To my surprise, their Kona Cotton was noticeably nicer than Joann’s, I couldn’t see light through it, it held a pretty nice drape while also being able to hold a firm edge, it came in a nice muted bright blue (muted-bright?) and once I got it home and test ironed it on cotton-heat without any problems, I knew I’d found my fabric. Hurray! Now to just finish making the thing.

I like taking test shots while working on things so I can do paintovers in Photoshop to see that I’m going in the right direction. This is a test shot I took after finishing the bodice using the new cotton. It also shows off the wig I ordered (before cutting and de-curling it a bit,) the bloomers I made, mary jane shoes picked up on sale, and my white Dear Celine Frothy Petticoat I, ordered from ClobbaOnline. In retrospect, I wish I’d ordered something a bit longer and fluffier. In the final costume I ended up wearing an additional malco modes 582 petticoat borrowed from my friend Claire, and in some of the photos you can see a bit of a fold where the skirt passes the petticoats. I’m not really happy with how pointy the darts are in the bodice, but I knew these would be covered up by the apron. If they weren’t covered up, I think I’dve definitely gone back and rounded them out a bit more.

On left: Dress with circle skirt pinned on and apron pattern draft taken at night with just the Dear Celine petti.

On right: Dress with circle skirt (and white fabric petticoat) sewn on, with both the Dear Celine petti and Malco Modes Petti, photographed in natural light.

The above photos show my muslin draft of the apron. You can see that none of the edges are hemmed and that I had to take out a little length at the waist. I also hadn’t sewn in a zipper yet. But at least it’s looking like Alice!

After this point I don’t have many progress photos – too busy getting the thing finished!  I set in the zipper, finished up the final apron, acquired white tights, made the black head bow out of fabric scraps left over from my black Steamcon skirt, and made a purse out of a Cheshire Cat plushy.

I do have a few makeup test shots that show me experimenting with how-much-makeup-is-too-much-makeup, and trying on the blue circle lenses (Max Pure Blue from iLoveCircleLenses.com) I picked up for the costume. (My eyes are naturally a green/hazel, you can sorta see them in the center since my eyes aren’t very dialated.)

So, on to final photos!

And my favorite photo from the convention:

Whee, so many photos!  🙂

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8 responses

  1. Lucy

    Isn’t drafting fun and kinda scary? The first thing I completely drafted was my star trek uniform, but I did some lolita’s also. I go back and forth as to whether I prefer drafting or starting with a base pattern…I feel spiffier when I draft it, but it’s often quicker if I use a pattern. *shrug*

    As always, your blog makes me want to GET SEWING RIGHT NOW. When is steamcon, again?

    January 17, 2012 at 10:02 pm

  2. Ale

    u are so cute!, i love ur cosplays.

    May 26, 2012 at 10:51 pm

  3. Alexis R

    What shoes did you wear and where did you get the wig?

    September 9, 2012 at 9:03 pm

  4. Cassie

    I love the dress you made of Alice in wonderland. Do you think you sell some of your dresses online? If not, that’s ok. But you’re really talented.

    March 26, 2013 at 6:55 am

  5. Bianca

    I’m new to cosplay and can’t find an Alice in Wonderland pattern anywhere 😦 will probably end up having to draft it

    April 13, 2013 at 8:13 pm

  6. you look so extremely beautiful! the dress is perfect and looks exactly like the original. perfect work! i want that too 😀 could you make me one?

    August 11, 2013 at 1:27 pm

  7. I’m working on an Alice costume currently. Hinting more towards the book then the movie, but your dress is such lovely inspiration!
    I’ve been having a difficult time getting the skirt to have enough volume. I was wondering how you went about getting yours so full? Or maybe how many yards of fabric you used in the skirt?
    Thank you! Alexis

    September 25, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    • Hi! I’m sorry I don’t have really great information to give you on the skirt’s construction since it’s been so long since I made it and it’s currently stowed away in a box somewhere from my move. I believe I just made a traditional circle skirt though (with circular cotton petticoat below.) The biggest thing that made the difference for me in terms of poof was that I doubled up on crinolines. I used two Dear Celine White Frothy Petticoats from http://clobbaonline.com/index.php?p=1_27 . You may be able to get away with only using one if you’re slimmer than I am or your fabric is lighter weight, but I found two to be the right amount of poof for me. 🙂 Hope that helps!

      September 27, 2013 at 1:49 pm

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